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...And They Flew (Movement I from "To the Moon and Back") • Grade 2+ • Flex

...And They Flew (Movement I from "To the Moon and Back") • Grade 2+ • Flex


Click here to view a perusal score.

Click here to listen to an MP3 rendering.

is a three-movement concert work, written with flexible instrumentation. While all three movements create one larger work, each of the movements is crafted to stand alone as an individual performance piece. Written in the summer of 2020, the piece is an artistic response to the challenges facing the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss, struggle, and challenges of the time in many ways parallel those of the 1960's. During the sixties, a time of tremendous social and political turbulence, humanity looked to the stars to find common purpose and hope.


I. ...and They Flew
The title of the first movement refers to, most obviously, spaceflight. The movement is also inspired by the final words of the poem "Come to the Edge" by french poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918). The poem speaks of journeying past our old world to a new frontier. Finally, this movement is dedicated to Katherine Johnson (1918-2020), NASA hero and pioneer, who helped launch mankind into the heavens. For a biography of Ms. Johnson, visit

  • Included Files and Flex Info

    Included: PDF of score and parts (a separate file for each part); MP3 rendering (NotePerformer); XML file


    TO THE MOON AND BACK is an original composition for flexible instrumentation. The score includes a variety of instruments for each of the five wind/string parts. Create a complete ensemble even if traditional instrumentation is not be available. Tempo changes are optional for remote rehearsals or performances of the piece. Maintaining a steady pulse may be helpful if playing with a click track.


    ALTERNATIVE INSTRUMENTATION: Directors may make alternative instrumentation choices based on ensemble needs. Bass clarinetists can play tenor saxophone parts for more upper register experience. Involve more percussionists by providing wind/ string parts to play on keyboard instruments. You may even decide to perform the piece with all like instruments. Whatever works for your group is appropriate. "Flexible" is the key word here.


    XML FILE INCLUDED: The XML file contains the full score. Import the XML file to your favorite notation software to customize parts as needed. Transpose parts, shift octaves, or make other modifications to meet your ensemble needs. If using a digital practice/ assessment program with your students, hopefully you can also use the XML file to provide practice, play along, and assessment opportunities.


    PERCUSSION: The percussion parts are interesting and engaging, but not required. Each movement of the piece can function without percussion if necessary. Groups can perform the entire piece with only one player on each of the five wind/string parts. Or, add any wind/string parts on keyboards for more percussion involvement. Reassign all wind/string parts to create a percussion ensemble.


    CONTACT ME: Please feel free to reach out if I can be of help to you. I hope you find this piece to be a valuable resource to you and your program. If I can help in any way, please email me at or visit Thank you!

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